Ricciardo reportedly offered $20m wildcard
DANIEL Ricciardo has repeatedly stressed his future will be decided by teams' abilities to help him win a Formula 1 championship.
It's why rival McLaren's interest in the 28-year-old from Perth haven't been treated all that seriously by Formula 1 commentators throughout the Red Bull star's contract saga.
There have been consistent reports throughout this season that McLaren remain in the race to sign Ricciardo, who is a free agent off contract at Red Bull at the end of the 2018 season.
Now it appears clear why McLaren is in the hunt.
The former championship-winning outfit has reportedly blown Red Bull out of the water with its contract offer.
German publication Sports Bild reports Ricciardo has been offered a multi-year deal worth $20 million per year, making him one of the highest paid drivers on the Formula 1 grid.
With star driver Fernando Alonso considering walking away from Formula 1, Sport Bild claims McLaren has cash up its sleeve to trump Red Bull, Ferrari and Mercedes in the tug-of-war for Ricciardo's signature.
Ricciardo is reportedly on a $6 million per-year salary at Red Bull and is paid more than $4 million less than teammate Max Verstappen since the Dutch driver signed his bumper new $10 million per-year deal at the end of 2017.
Red Bull godfather Helmut Marko told the German publication Ricciardo's offers from rival teams have continued to rise in recent weeks after he showed pure class in guiding his wounded Red Bull to victory at the Monaco Grand Prix.
"Our Daniel Ricciardo is the king of the market," Marko told Sport Bild, according to Formula Passion.
"McLaren offers him more every week, but above all some people in Mercedes would absolutely want to join them in the team."
Marko has previously declared Red Bull is the best place for Ricciardo, claiming the Australian would be treated as an equal with Red Bull teammate Verstappen in future years, but would have to play second fiddle to Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel if he moves to Mercedes or Ferrari.
"We want to keep him and Daniel knows it," Marko said after Ricciardo's Monaco masterclass.
"Why should he go to Mercedes or Ferrari? To be a No. 2 driver?
"With us, Daniel has equal opportunities with the same equipment and no team orders. I think he knows that too."
Meanwhile, Sky Sports Formula 1 commentator Martin Brundle has declared Ricciardo is in a "strange situation" where none of the available seats for the 2019 season appear to suit his ambitions, despite being the hottest product on the F1 market.
The 2019 driver market remains a big talking point in the paddock with Max Verstappen and Sebastian Vettel the only drivers in the leading three teams under contract for next season.
Brundle told Sky Sports.com Ricciardo finds himself in an "odd position" in negotiations over his future.
"Lewis will stay at Mercedes. They're just arguing over whether he has the M&Ms without the green ones in them or something like that, the detail at the end of it.
"I think they'll be comfortable keeping Bottas alongside him.
"It will be interesting to see what Ferrari do.
"Daniel finds himself in a very odd position. He is going so well but Vettel kind of owns the driving seats at Ferrari, Hamilton at Mercedes and, it seems, Verstappen at Red Bull. So despite his form he's finding himself without a clear path.
"Will he be concerned about a Red Bull-Honda, if indeed they go that way? We'll have to wait and see. But it's strange times for Ricciardo."